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Dec 4, 2009 03:56 PM

Catfish, o' Yorick , my kingdom for a catfish!

Ok. I've given up on my search to find fresh (or frozen) catfish in Montreal.

Instead I've decided to shift my focus on finding good quality catfish dishes in local restaurants.

I know the Oyster Shack on Bishop uses catfish in their fish and chips. Does anybody know of any others, particularly in the West End or West Island (especially)?

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  1. I feel for you, Haggisboy - not necessarily for the catfish, but for the ongoing, somewhat lengthy, fruitless search for something that should? be found easily, you'd think...

    I searched in vain for many years to find Canadian haddock fillets with skin-on. This is easily picked up just 30 miles south in Champlain NY, but in the Montreal area, no way.

    Back to the catfish...
    Yeah, my mother-in-law had catfish at Oyster Shack. I think I remember it being the evening fish once or twice at La Luisianne, but it isn't always there (usually tuna...).
    May I humbly suggest Price Chopper, Champlain NY. They have catfish fillets (plain or cajun rub) for about $4/lb. They'll even bread and fry 'em for you at no charge. Or simply order their catfish fry.
    Wanna save money - they have 5lb bags of frozen catfish 'chunks' in the freezer section for $10 (I'm working on one now...)

    3 Replies
    1. re: porker

      My son just ingested breaded catfish "fingers" at Mesquite. Can't prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is catfish, but the fish flavour is mild enough to get 2 thumbs up from him.

      I had a rib appetizer which was so so, but LOVED the onion rings and the cole slaw.

      1. re: maisonbistro

        Are you talking about actually the onion strings(not onion rings)? Or maybe now, they're making onion rings? I remember eating catfish something, last time eating at Mesquite restaurant.

        1. re: BLM

          Yes, the strings - much lightly breaded than most onion rings, in the shape of rings.

          Sorry, when I ordered them they were called onion rings, not strings.

    2. Have you tried Basa / Pangasius, a kind of Mekong catfish that you can get in stores? It's firm and pretty tasty. Might work for you.

      5 Replies
      1. re: TheSnowpea

        I think he doesn't trust the basa's provenance.
        But there's been discussion about that as well

        I dunno, basa IS very cheap and I like it.

        1. re: porker

          I've read too many conflicting things about Basa to the point where I'd rather err on the side of safety and avoid it. I have bought it two or three times because it was cheap and found it bland and generally unspectacular.

          About a month ago I was in my local IGA and they had a few packages of fresh Bullhead Catfish in the fish section. I was aware of the popular Blue and Channel catfish varieties from the States, so I passed on the Bullhead. When I got home I researched it on the net and decided to head back and pick up a pack, but when I got back to the IGA, only a couple of hours later, the few packs they had were gone. I asked the fishmonger behind the counter if he had any more and his reply was "we have catfish?" Haven't seen it since.

          BTW - I'm now wondering if the batter fried "catfish" at The Oyster Shack is actually Basa, or one of the American varieties.

          1. re: Haggisboy

            I think local bullhead is quasi-seasonal, usually springtime. Odd that they had it a month ago.
            I've tried the IGA bullhead (they usually have skinned and headed or fillets) and it is indeed catfishy, tasting a bit like mud. I panfry or blacken.

            1. re: porker

              Good to have finally found someone here who has tasted true catfish. As I mentioned in my previous thread on this topic, I went on an excursion this summer and hit up Waldmans, La Mer and a few other smaller fishmongers in town. A good trek because I live on the West Island. Nobody had it, and the reactions I got from the various places ranged from "Barbott? We don't carry that. It's a garbage fish" (employee at La Mer). "We get it in sometimes, but not often," (Waldmans), and "you can find it in town, don't know where, but you have to look for it and boy is it good" (fishmonger at La Poissonnerie du Marche in DDO).

              1. re: Haggisboy

                "One man's trash is another man's treasure" often times rings true when it comes to fish.
                As a kid, we'd scoff at the likes of eel, carp, sunfish. Seems Japanese adore eel, you see carp selling big time in Chinese markets, and panfish is all the rage in most of the US.